Medical students volunteer to deliver groceries, prescriptions to isolated individuals
OTTAWA -- A group of medical and other university students is delivering more than diagnoses during this pandemic. They are volunteering their time to deliver groceries and prescriptions to those who are unable to get those things themselves.
Many who are elderly or those who are immunocompromised are staying home, but they still need groceries.
“This demographic is actually at the highest risk of getting sick from the virus, because of their age and underlying medical conditions,” says Monisha Kabir, the external coordinator for Ottawa with an organization called Bag-Half-Full.
“Our mission is to kind of help them stay at home, by doing their groceries and not having to go out into the busy [stores] and potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19, ” Kabir says. “Everyone is actually very, very appreciative; it is really solving a problem for a lot of people.”
The process is quite simple: just order and pay.
“Community members can place an order online, but we’re also mindful that not everybody has access to a laptop or internet, so we’re more than happy to take their orders over the phone as well,” Kabir explains.
Volunteers then do the shopping and drop the groceries off, all with no delivery or service fees.
Mara Mihailescu is a volunteer and says the response has been heartwarming.
“I have actually a story of somebody who was just so thankful that she wrote me a thank-you card when I came to deliver her groceries and she had taped chocolates to it,” she says.
For those living alone, it's a short but much-needed social connection at a safe distance.
“It’s also a great opportunity, I think for people, especially elderly individuals who are living alone to have that social interaction with somebody to kind of combat some of the isolation they may be feeling,” Mihailescu says.
Bag-Half-Full serves Ottawa and Prescott-Russell and are in other cities across Canada, too. They are looking for additional volunteers, as well as cash donations to help with expenses.